Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Famous People's Prayers

I came across to diversely different celebrity davening stories.

One is actually the creation of a new prayer for B'reishit by the actor of How I Met Your Mother, Josh Randor, who published it on

The other finding was about celebrities actually davening.  Apparently Natalie Portman was star struck in shul and had a hard time concentrating.  Good to know we aren't the only ones.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Will Pew Get More People in the Pews?

If you haven't heard the lastest Jewish community survey news (Major Shift in Identity of US Jews), published by the Pew Research Center and reported heavily by the NY Times and every other news outlet that Jews read, then you know that there is a LOT to talk about. 

As mentioned, this blog is "on hold" so there hasn't been postings of late. Although I am not a big Shmuley Boteach person, I enjoyed his response to the Pew study, published in the times of Israel, suggesting Three Ways to Save American Jewry From Extinction.

Fix the Broken and Boring Synagogue Service 
The overwhelming number of Jews who still step into a Synagogue do so for three days of every year and then swear they will never come back. Sometimes I think we should ban secular Jews from High Holy Day services and shift their attendance instead to Simchas Torah and Purim. But since that’s not going to happen, let’s take the focus off of cantorial recital yodeling, which makes congregants into spectators, shift the teachings away from dry sermons, and focus instead on having services engage the heart and mind. Carlebach-style services that make people sing real spiritual melodies rather than listening to opera is the way to go. Rabbis putting out moral questions between each of the seven readings of the Torah on Saturday mornings is a means by which to influence congregants to apply the lessons of the Torah to their everyday lives, making Judaism relevant rather than aloof. And don’t forget a fantastic Kiddush with fine single malt whisky. Can’t afford it? Build less elaborate buildings and have a more elaborate cholent and sushi.